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What Are the Different Types of Braces, and Which Is Right for Me?

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Few people are lucky enough to be born with perfect teeth, but orthodontic treatment can make a huge difference to you or your child. Your orthodontist may recommend any of the following types of braces or dental appliances to help correct your particular problem.

Traditional Braces

Traditional braces have progressed since the early days and are now lighter in weight and structure than they used to be. They are made from a high-grade stainless steel and have metal brackets that are attached to each tooth using a type of cement. The brackets are linked to each other with a thin archwire, which puts pressure on the teeth to cause them to move slowly into the correct position.

The archwires are connected to the brackets using tiny elastics known as ligatures or o-rings, which your orthodontist will change each time he tightens the braces. Some types of braces have brackets that don't need o-rings, and these are called self-ligating braces.

Ceramic Braces

These work in the same way as traditional braces, but the brackets are made from a clear, transparent ceramic material. The braces are less visible to others, which makes them a popular choice for adults who need orthodontic treatment. Patients wearing these types of braces occasionally find that the elastics become discolored, which can cause marks on the teeth, as described by the orthodontics practice of Drs. William and Lewis Chapman. Your orthodontist might recommend the use of a product that will help to provide fluoride to your teeth to protect them against cavities.

Clear and Removable Aligners

Clear aligners are recommended for ongoing use after you complete your orthodontic treatment. These appliances help to maintain the results you want until your teeth have settled down and finished moving.

Forsus Appliances

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children get screened by an orthodontist at the age of 7 because early childhood is the best time for treatment. Some children require the use of Forsus appliances to correct difficult overbites, and these have largely replaced the use of headgear for braces. The Forsus appliance is a spring worn inside the cheeks that attaches to the braces in order to adjust the upper or lower jaw into position.

Palatal Expanders

For patients who have overcrowded teeth, two options to remedy the problem are tooth extraction and palatal expansion. Tooth extraction was the preferred solution in the past, but modern orthodontists often recommend the wearing of a palatal expander for a period. This is a device that fits your palate and applies pressure to the back of your upper molars to gradually move your teeth farther apart. This expands your palate and makes it possible for other types of braces to be fitted to correct the position of your teeth.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.